New Releases: Contemporary Music (October 2018)

Kate Soper (Photo: Jim Gipe)

New Releases: Contemporary Music (October 2018)

A round-up of new contemporary music releases, featuring Kate Soper, Joe Cutler, Jörg Widmann and Field Works.

Listen to the Journal of Music Contemporary Releases playlist on Spotify:

Each week The Journal of Music will be compiling news on new and recent releases in contemporary, classical, jazz, indie, traditional music and more. Please send details of all releases to newreleases [at]

Kate Soper: Ipsa Dixit
New World Records
October 2018

American composer and vocalist Soper’s chamber opera Ipsa Dixit has been called a ‘twenty-first century masterpiece’ by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross, and was nominated for a 2017 Pulitzer Prize. It is an ambitious work, tackling themes of language and philosophy with lightness of touch and more than a little humour. The music is immediate, direct, the voice, text and sound each bouncing off the other in this exploration of communication and the failures of language. This release on New World Records features a stunning performance by Soper herself, with Wet Ink Ensemble. 


Joe Cutler: Elsewhereness
NMC Recordings
19 October 2018

This portrait album of UK composer Joe Cutler marks both 10 years since his first on the NMC Recordings label and his 50th birthday. The six pieces featured are typical of the composer, with bopping rhythms, bluesy riffs and suffused with an infectious joy in sound. The standout is Akhmatova Fragments, which perfectly captures the mood and tension of the poetry of Anna Akhmatova. Elsewhereness features performances from soprano Sarah Leonard, Project Instrumental, Fidelio Trio, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Workers Union Ensemble.



Jörg Widmann: Arche
ECM Records
5 October 2018

Widmann’s Arche was written to inaugurate Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and this album is a live recording of its premiere in 2017 by no fewer than 300 performers, with the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg conducted by Keny Nagano, two adult choirs and a children’s choir. Arche is a work huge in scope, reaching back in time towards the oratorio, and forward through styles, inspired by the building’s resemblance to an ark. Hints of Beethoven and Beats Furrer sit side-by-side with references to Genesis and fragments of the Requiem text; the listener can barely catch their breath. 


Field Works: Initial Sounds
Temporary Residence
12 October 2018 

The Field Works compilation albums lie on the edge of sound art, ambient electronica and contemporary, but Initial Sounds, opening with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s ‘Kinematic Wave’, is so striking it certainly bears inclusion. The project – which actually contains a total of seven albums and companion book, Metaphonics – was initiated by field recordist Stuart Hyatt, and was initially released on vinyl, though is now available in digital form on Bandcamp and Spotify. Each album uses Hyatt’s samples as a basis to explore a location and time; in the case of Initial Sounds this the deep in space and deep in the earth, from glaciers to the sounds of gravitational waves.



Please send details of all new releases to newreleases [at]

Published on 18 October 2018

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